Plastover: An Exodus From Plastic Waste

Looking for something unique this Passover to engage your family or community with the holiday and make it relevant in today’s world? The nonprofit Reboot’s latest project, Plastover adds contemporary and meaningful action to the holiday.

Every Passover, Jews around the world give up leavened bread – hametz. This sacrifice is designed to recall our ancestors’ journey from slavery in Egypt to freedom. But this year, the Reboot  is asking the Jewish community to make another kind of sacrifice – choosing to mindfully free themselves from the plague of plastic waste by committing to eliminate the use of single-use plastic for the eight days of Passover. 

Plastic has many important uses, but our over-reliance on it has had disastrous consequences for our health and the health of our planet. In particular, single-use plastics offer convenience at a devastating cost, contributing to climate change, polluting our land and water, and harming wildlife. Reducing plastic use is a moral responsibility as well as a practical necessity. Passover is an opportunity  to spark a sustained climate intervention because as the story teaches us, an Exodus of a thousand miles begins with a single step.  

Find out more about Plastover here and download the digital toolkit with a brand new 10 Plagues of Plastic. In case you missed it, you can watch the Plastover session from the Big Bold Jewish Climate Fest here

Reboot is an arts and culture nonprofit that reimagines and reinforces Jewish thought and traditions. As a premier R&D platform for the Jewish world, Reboot catalyzes its network of preeminent creators, artists, entrepreneurs and activists to produce experiences and products that evolve the Jewish conversation and transform society. Find out more at

Join our global Coalition.

Organizations launch campaign after chain falls behind others on plastic waste

AUSTIN, Texas — Environment America Research & Policy Center, U.S. PIRG Education Fund and other nonprofits launched a national campaign today calling on Whole Foods to change its practices on plastic packaging. The groups’ decision comes after the supermarket chain received an “F” for its policies on single-use plastic packaging from As You Sow, an environmental shareholder advocacy nonprofit.

Along with Plastic Pollution Coalition, BRINGiT, and Student PIRG chapters from coast-to-coast, the organizations are specifically pressing Whole Foods to lead by eliminating single-use packaging from store shelves. The goal is to highlight the importance of this issue for consumers in all parts of the country. Some members of the coalition, along with Greenpeace, have already sent a letter to Whole Foods’ CEO John Mackey urging him to take action on tackling plastic waste.

“Plastic packaging is not on customers’ shopping list when they go to the market–and yet it’s almost impossible to walk away from a Whole Foods without a basket full of plastic that will pollute our planet for centuries,” said Kelsey Lamp, Protect Our Oceans campaign director for Environment America Research & Policy Center. “Our wildlife, oceans and communities are choking on plastics and deserve better. We must prioritize wildlife over waste, and we should expect more from a supermarket known for its environmental vision.”

According to As You Sow’s recent report that studied 50 companies, Whole Foods not only scored an “F” for its efforts to eliminate unnecessary plastic, but also performed worse than other large chains such as Walmart, Target and Kroger. The report showed that Whole Foods hasn’t adopted an overall goal to reduce company-wide packaging. It has also failed when it comes to packaging transparency. Notably, the company has not publicly reported anything on its plastic footprint, including tonnage and volume of packaging materials, units of plastic packaging, or percentage of sales that use reusable packaging.

Photo of over-packaged oranges at Whole Foods by World of Vegan.

“As a company with a reputation for selling food that is good for people and the planet, Whole Foods can make a big dent in reducing plastic pollution,” said Alex Truelove, Zero Waste campaign director for U.S. PIRG Education Fund. “Whole Foods Market once led the industry as the first U.S. grocer to eliminate plastic grocery bags at checkout in 2008. It’s time they lead again.”

Each year, another 8 million tons of plastic enters our oceans—the equivalent of a garbage truck dumping a load of plastic waste into the sea every single minute. This senseless waste is devastating for wildlife, since a bird or fish or turtle can so easily mistake small pieces of plastic for food. Nearly 700 species of marine animals, as well as more than 50 freshwater species, have ingested plastic or become entangled in it, often with deadly results.

“Young people expect the companies they support to reflect their values,” said Eckerd College junior and Florida PIRG Students State Chair Alex Gordon. “For too long Whole Foods has not taken responsibility for the single-use plastic pollution they’re creating and this is the moment to act.”

Plastic Pollution Coalition joined organizations including NOAA, Pew Charitable Trusts, PangeaSeed, Oceana, DPNR, University of Florida, University of the Virgin Islands, Big Blue and You, The Last Plastic Straw, and more over the past week for events focused on creating and maintaining an environmentally sustainable future for the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Events included public art, the creation of public murals, panel discussions, a screening of Straws film, and the ‘Sea Walls St. Croix Environmental Symposium’ which were held at the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts on Dec. 15.

Danni Washington of Big Blue & You and her crew lead the New Wave After School Art & Stem Program for local students throughout the week.

For the public art project Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans by PangeaSeed Foundation, PangeaSeed collaborates with renowned contemporary artists to create large-scale public murals that address pressing environmental issues the oceans are facing.

The panel: ‘Organizing for Change through Public Art and Beyond’ featured Melody Rames, Public Affairs Officer VI Waste Management Authority; Tre’ Packard, PangeaSeed; La Vaughn Belle, Artist; Paulita Bennet Martin, Oceana; and Dianna Cohen, Plastic Pollution Coalition, with moderator Peter Tewinkle. The panel ‘Plastic Pollution Solutions’ included: Jackie Nunez, founder of The Last Plastic Straw and Program Manager at Plastic Pollution Coalition; Howard Forbes, University of the Virgin Islands/ Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service; and Jennifer Valiulis, St. Croix Environmental Association.

Events were organized by Virginia Clairmont, Founder, Clean Sweep Frederiksted and Project Director, Sea Walls St.Croix.

Learn more about Plastic Free Islands.

Join our global Coalition.

TODAY is DO DAY, an international day of DOing hosted by The DO School in partnership with Plastic Pollution Coalition. The goal of DO Day is to show the world what a purpose-filled group of people can accomplish in just one day, and this year the focus is on refusing and reducing single-use plastic.

Diverse local communities of purposeful DOers organizes DO DAY events in 36 global locations, including: Haiti, Jamaica, Macedonia, Belgium, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, and the U.S.!

Learn more.

Plastic packaging is so ubiquitous in our modern world we might not even see it. A new exhibit of paintings by Victoria Mimiaga makes plastic visible by placing in a space it doesn’t belong: old master paintings.

Imagine The Son of Man, the 1964 painting by the Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte. In Mimiaga’s version, the green apple is encased in a plastic zip-top bag. While the bowl of mangos in Gauguin’s Two Tahitian Women has no covering, Mimiaga’s version wraps both the bowl and fruit in a shiny layer of plastic. 

All photos courtesy of Victoria Mimiaga

“When plastic becomes visible again, we can begin the many conversations about its reflective aesthetic, its role in our society, and our responsibilities regarding its use,” explains the artist. 

Mimiaga’s first “Food in Plastic” show was displayed SF MOMA, and featured paintings of simple produce wrapped in plastic. Up next for the artist will be American Gothic + plastic and Monet’s garden at Giverny, complete with plastic bags floating in the ponds. 

“There are so many ways I can illustrate the evils of plastic without preaching,” says Mimiaga. “My goal is to open a visual dialogue.”

Visit Wrapped: Food in Plastics II The Masters at the Telegraph Hill Gallery in San Francisco, CA, through April 27. 

Take Action to stop plastic pollution.

Join our global Coalition. 

Sambrailo Packaging—a 94 year old family-owned agriculture packaging company based out of Watsonville, California—pioneered the very first plastic clamshell used in the berry industry.

“Our design and innovation took off not only in the berry industry but paved the way for others to design plastic packaging for various fruits and vegetables in a rigid container,” explains Juana Ramirez, Director of Sales and Marketing for Sambrailo Packaging.

But the story doesn’t end there. “As we continue to see the damaging effects of plastics in our oceans, landfill, and on our Earth, we at Sambrailo Packaging are in a stage of re-inventing who we are,” says Ramirez.

VP of Innovation Tom Taggart began creating the new packaging category ReadyCycle, made from corrugated cardboard without wax, labels, or plastic coatings, and designed for the existing cardboard recycling stream.

“We recognize and believe that we are at a point where change is desperately needed,” continues Ramirez. “Introducing ReadyCycle as a packaging alternative to plastic for agriculture is our first step leading the charge.”

ReadyCycle hit the market in 2017, and has been adopted by farms and markets throughout the Western U.S. and Mexico.

Durst Organic Growers, in Esparto, California, wrote about their switch to ReadyCycle on their blog: “This adjustment is a costly one, but represents a huge shift for us as we bring the same principles we use for growing our crops to our packaging. We believe in producing clean, organic produce for our consumers and in the same vein, believe that treating our planet with respect and keeping it clean is equally important.”

While the benefits of using ReadyCycle are numerous, including the ability for markets and growers to print logos/branding on the containers, the Sambrailo team says the cost is more than the traditional plastic clamshells, and ultimately, the demand for ReadyCycle will be driven by the consumer.

“Anytime you see plastic packaging, there is an opportunity for ReadyCycle to step in and become a viable non plastic solution,”  said Sara Lozano, Marketing Manager for Sambrailo.

By all accounts, the change is happening. Using ReadyCycle has been voted as one of the top 30 seed ideas in Plastic Pollution Coalition and A New Mission’s Drastic Plastic Mission to reduce the amount of plastic on supermarket shelves.

Can ReadyCycle change the entire industry? Tell us what you think in the comments.

Take the pledge to refuse single-use plastic.

Join our global Coalition.